Archive for November 2012

29 November 2012

My first kid’s birthday party

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, Random

I’m at the stage where many of my friends are having kids, or on their second one. Yikes, it’s THAT time?

But with that stage comes kid birthday parties. First off, I loved birthdays as a kid. Presents, cake, singing, games, GOODIE BAGS. It’s the best.

And now that I’m on the other side of the kid’s birthday party, I can say this as a single lady attendee:


Not too long ago, I was invited to a friend’s son’s birthday party and after missing his last two, I made it a point to be there and support the mom (my friend) and her adorable family.

There were 10 children, their parents and four non-parent, single/engaged people.

Everyone brought gifts for the birthday boy, I brought two bottles of wine. I AM THAT FRIEND.

But all that wine was gone by the end of the night :) Just saying.

I don’t spend a ton of time around kids, especially large groups of them, so when the kids gathered for pinata and present time, and the kids were screaming (at a deafening decibel), laughing, running around in a herd, I had a moment of intense, “holy shit, there are so many of them.”

And I think they smelled my fear.

Or at least the parents did because several of them came up to me and another non-parent friend saying, “so did you guys survive that?” or “Does this make you want to hold off in having kids?”

Clearly, they’ve been in our shoes.

Yes, it was a bit terrifying but it was still fun to watch them get excited opening gifts and look a tad confused when everyone sang “Happy Birthday.”

And since more kids parties are in my future, I will be stocking up on the wine. It was a hit.







26 November 2012

Thanksgiving year two in one word

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random, Wisconsin


I wish I could fully explain why this the best word to describe it but everything just went, awesome.

My SIL and I were back in the kitchen and I cannot express or gush enough how great everything went. We were rocking and rolling in the kitchen, rotating, prepping, cooking and baking and then on the actual day, the turkey turned out perfect and everything we prepped the day before still tasted amazingly good.

And every recipe just worked out! I had some doubts about one dish but it was all really good and our guests felt the same way. We keep it simple with our Thanksgiving recipes and that is a-okay with me. We even had the perfect amount of leftovers at the end of the meal.

Here’s the final list and recipe links to what we made:

Of course, I left my nicer camera at home so my iPhone was working overtime to capture the meal. Here are a few.


And after all of that deliciousness, it was time for a nap, right Steve?

So yeah, Thanksgiving was awesome. It was good to be home, around family and take a break from Chicago reality. Now, it’s almost December 1! WHAT?

How was your holiday?



22 November 2012

What I’m thankful for this year

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are all cooking, eating or sleeping off the former two activities.

In the season of giving thanks, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on what I’m thankful for this year. Before writing this list, I took a look at last year’s entry and while there are a few new silly things to add, the core things that I’m thankful for: family, friends and health, haven’t changed.

And they shouldn’t.

Those are the main things that support me and keep me going. So I don’t mind listing them here again because I’m continuously thankful for them, year round.

Over the last few days, I’ve bittersweetly looked back at the last year, and how different things are now compared to last Thanksgiving.

The last year has not been easy, but despite the challenges, I’m still standing, and I’m thankful for that too. And from that, I’ve been able to deepen friendships and make new ones that are a key part of my life in Chicago.

So below is my 2012 list of things I’m thankful for. Some are more silly than others, and in no particular order

  • Family
  • Friends (both Twitter, blog and IRL)
  • Steve (the fur nephew)
  • My cleaning lady (she bring so much joy)
  • Good health (minus the plague incident)
  • Living in Chicago
  • An ice cold beer or a glass of wine at the end of a long day/week
  • My Kindle (turns out reading is fun when you’re not on vacation)
  • Good skin (minus the current blemish)
  • Being able to travel to amazing places
  • Animal photos online and silly GIF sites, like So Yeah Duh, My Friends are Married and What We Should Call Me (so many LOLz)
  • Texting

There are many more things to add but these are the one I wanted to specifically call out.

And of course, I’m thankful for this little nook I have online and the many, great people I’ve met through it, and you guys who still read!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

19 November 2012

Continuing my music education

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: music

I’ll admit that I’m not the most musically diverse. I tend to keep it simple, Top 40, latest hits and classic rock. I rarely deviate outside of them and that’s, okay.

But lately, I’ve taken on a type of “music education.”

And it’s not exactly like music class in high school.

A friend of mine, who loves music and has an impressive online music collection, has generously started helping open my musical horizons. She’s shared music and even invited me to a few local shows she has tickets for.

The first concert I went to with her introduced me to one of my favorite new bands. And now, I’m more than open to hear new music and break out of my comfort zone.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have One Direction, Rihanna and Flo Rida on my iPod but lately I’ve been loving a few new songs too.

So below is a list of some of the new bands/artists I’ve discovered during my musical education. I’m a tad behind :)

 If you have bands or artists that you’re loving and that I should check out, let me know!

What are you listening to right now that you love?

08 November 2012

Cooking Thanksgiving – Year Two

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

So, it’s November (wow), which means it’s time to start thinking ahead to the holidays, starting with, Thanksgiving.

Last year, my SIL and I took the baton of cooking the big meal, and it was a nerve wracking experience that ended with everyone happy and full and no major accidents. Sure, I got a burn on my arm and a cut on my hand but I had all limbs at the end of the meal!

And now, my SIL and I have started talking about Thanksgiving year two and since last year’s meal went so well, I don’t think we’ll be making a ton of adjustments!

Menu plan (so far) is:

  • Turkey (not pre-made this time!)
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Steamed green beans (with a small green bean casserole)
  • Mashed potatoes (made with real potatoes this year)
  • Stuffing

The major thing we learned last year is that we had WAY too much food. I never thought I would say that but the number of leftovers were crazy and really, we could pare it back and stick with the classics. We tossed out the rolls, cranberries and wild rice/corn dish from last year. Well, the latter isn’t totally out, yet.

I tend to go a little overboard in menu planning, making sure there is something for everyone, so most times, I overthink it and there is way too much food. So in looking at this list and adding a few appetizers on top (in case we’re running late), we should be still plenty full at the end.

When we finished cooking last year, I kept thinking, we can change things next year! Make new stuff! Try new recipes! And this year, we’re keeping it pretty simple.We are a product of routine and knowing what will be there (and thus enjoy) is not a bad thing. Change isn’t a bad thing either but sometimes, it’s nice knowing what to expect.

Now, if I can make it through this year without another new burn, I would be even happier :)

Are you getting excited for Thanksgiving?